A study of Dillon’s primary water source — Straight Creek — revealed the town will likely have enough water to survive a drought year like 2002, but the results will not stop the town from possibly exploring alternative water sources for emergency situations.
The firm yield study was commissioned to determine whether Straight Creek and Laskey Gulch would provide enough water when the town reached build-out.
The town gleans 75 percent of its water supply from Straight Creek, which runs down from the Continental Divide at the Eisenhower Tunnel, along Interstate 70 and into the Blue River in Silverthorne. Laskey Gulch, which lies south of the Williams Fork Mountain Range, provides the other 25 percent.
According to the research firm, Longmont-based Deere and Ault Consultants, a flow of 2.54 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Straight Creek is necessary to support buildout. Half of that amount, or 1.27 cfs, would be available for Dillon because the town shares its water right with the Dillon Valley Water District.
To put that into context, during the 2002 drought, the town saw 24 days when the flow was below the buildout demand of 2.54 cfs, town engineer Dan Burroughs recently told the town council. But, mandatory water restrictions like the town has instituted in the past could help during a drought situation. In 2004, restrictions reduced water use by 25 percent, Burroughs said